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Avacta Group PLC - Avacta hits Clinical Candidate Selection Milestone

RNS Number : 5969B
Avacta Group PLC
10 June 2019

10 June 2019

Avacta Group plc

("Avacta", the "Company" or the "Group")


Avacta hits Clinical Candidate Selection Milestone for Affimer PD-L1 Inhibitor


Selection of its first-time-in-human clinical candidate for the Affimer platform confirmed

Group remains on track to submit an IND/CTA application by the end of 2020


Avacta Group plc (AIM: AVCT), the developer of Affimer® biotherapeutics and research reagents, announces that it has selected the clinical development candidate for first-time-in-human clinical trials of the Affimer platform.  This important milestone means that the Group remains on track to submit an IND/CTA application for an Affimer PD-L1 inhibitor by the end of 2020.

The Group has generated a wide range of Affimer inhibitors of PD-L1, a well known cancer immunotherapy target.  This target was chosen to demonstrate safety and tolerability of the Affimer platform in human and, importantly, to provide a proprietary basis for its novel tumour microenvironment activated drug conjugate (TMAC™) and bispecific cancer immunotherapies.

Avacta has selected a specific Affimer molecule (AVA004) as its clinical candidate because of its excellent in vitro and in vivo pharmacological properties. This Affimer has been shown to have equivalent tumour growth inhibition to three approved monoclonal antibody inhibitors of PD-L1 (Tecentriq, Imfinzi and Bavencio) in several in vivo animal efficacy models.

This molecule will therefore now be taken forwards into clinical manufacturing and IND/CTA enabling studies allowing the Group to remain on track for an IND/CTA application in late 2020 and dosing of first patients shortly afterwards.

The planned phase I study will be in patients with advanced PD-L1 positive solid tumours.  This study will explore both intra-venous and sub-cutaneous routes of administration to provide proof-of-concept with primary endpoints of safety, tolerability and appropriate pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics, and with a secondary efficacy endpoint. The study will include 20-30 patients in at least two sites in North America and Europe.

The cancer immunotherapy market is currently worth $60bn and is predicted to double by 2025[1]Avacta's combinatorial approach to treatment through its TMAC and bispecific cancer immunotherapies, which build upon inhibition of PD-L1, are designed not only to compete strongly in this market through improved clinical benefit to patients, but also to expand the market to patients who do not respond to single checkpoint inhibitors.

Avacta will provide an on-line analyst briefing on the AVA004 in vitro and in vivo pharmacology data at 16:00 BST on Wednesday, 12 June 2019.  To register for this analyst briefing please contact [email protected].

Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer, commented:

 "Selection of the Affimer PD-L1 inhibitor candidate for clinical development is an important milestone in our development of the Affimer therapeutic platform.  The Group remains firmly on track to submit an application to the regulators for a first-time-in-human clinical study late in 2020.


Demonstration of appropriate safety and tolerability in humans is key to de-risking the platform overall for partners and therefore key to the number and value of licensing deals in the future.

Not only will the PD-L1 programme be used to demonstrate the safety of the Affimer platform in humans, but it will provide us with a proprietary inhibitor of the PD-1/PD-L1 checkpoint pathway which will be central to our ground-breaking TMAC drug conjugates and bispecifics.  These novel programmes will allow us to build a clinically differentiated pipeline to address the lack of a durable response to single immune checkpoint therapies for most patients.


It is a hugely exciting period for Avacta and I look forward to keeping the market updated on our progress."


- Ends -


For further information from Avacta Group plc, please contact:

Avacta Group plc

Alastair Smith, Chief Executive Officer

Tony Gardiner, Chief Financial Officer


Tel:  +44 (0) 844 414 0452


finnCap Ltd (Nominated Adviser and Joint Broker)

Geoff Nash / Giles Rolls - Corporate Finance

Tim Redfern - ECM


WG Partners (Joint Broker)

Nigel Birks / Nigel Barnes

David Wilson / Claes Spang


Tel:  +44 (0) 207 220 0500




Tel:  +44 (0) 203 705 9318

Tel:  +44 (0) 203 705 9217



Turner Pope Investments

James Pope / Ben Turner


Yellow Jersey PR (Financial Media and IR)

Sarah Hollins

Harriet Jackson


Zyme Communications (Trade and Regional Media)

Katie Odgaard

Tel: +44 (0) 203 621 4120




Tel: +44 (0)7764 947 137

Tel: +44 (0)7544 275 882

[email protected]


Tel: +44 (0)7787 502 947

[email protected] 


About Avacta Group plc - https://www.avacta.com

Avacta's principal focus is on its proprietary Affimer® technology which is a novel engineered alternative to antibodies that has wide application in Life Sciences for diagnostics, therapeutics and general research and development.


Antibodies dominate markets worth in excess of $100bn despite their shortcomings.  Affimer technology has been designed to address many of these negative performance issues, principally; the time taken to generate new antibodies, the reliance on an animal's immune response, poor specificity in many cases, and batch to batch variability.  Affimer technology is based on a small protein that can be quickly generated to bind with high specificity and affinity to a wide range of protein targets.


Avacta has a pre-clinical biotech development programme with an in-house focus on immuno-oncology as well as partnered development programmes.  Avacta is commercialising non-therapeutic Affimer reagents through licensing to developers of life sciences research tools and diagnostics. 


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